There seems to be some lingering confusion over who won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election; that particular question was one of the top searches on Google this year. Additionally, a recent poll published in the Washington Post shows that over 50 percent of Republicans believe that Donald Trump won the popular vote.
The problem is that this is absolutely untrue.
Let's set the record straight once and for all: while Donald Trump fairly and legitimately won the election according to our electoral college system by winning 306 out of 538 electors, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. This means that more individual Americans voted for her than for Trump. To be precise, final tallies show that she received nearly three million more individual votes than Trump (65.8 million votes versus 62.9 million). That's more than the entire population of Chicago, the third largest city in our nation after New York City and Los Angeles, which the most recent census estimates at 2.7 million.
It's unclear why so many people still believe Trump won the popular vote. It could be due to distrust of the mainstream media, which Trump himself has fueled, or a poor understanding of the complicated American electoral system.
Or it could be because the president-elect tweets things like this: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Not only did Trump not win the electoral college in a landslide (his victory ranks 46th out of 58 elections in American history), but there is no proof of even limited voter fraud, let alone fraud on such a grand scale.
Trump apparently based this on a study that was referenced in a Washington Post blog post. The study and its claims of widespread fraud have been debunked by every serious national news outlet. Yet Trump stood by the claim. The same day, he tweeted: "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!"
Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
With a leader who promotes fake news and makes explicit his views that mainstream media is biased and untrustworthy, it's no wonder even the basic facts of this election are unclear in the minds of many citizens.